Heavy snow forecast in mountainous areas along Sea of Japan

Weather officials in Japan are forecasting heavy snowfall over the weekend, mainly in the mountains in Hokuriku and other areas along the Sea of Japan. They say snow may also accumulate in the plains in the Tokai region.

The Japan Meteorological Agency says heavy snow may fall from Friday night through Sunday due to an intensifying winter pressure pattern and influx of strong, cold air.

Snowfall in the 24 hours through late Saturday afternoon may reach up to 70 centimeters in Niigata Prefecture; 60 centimeters in the Sea of Japan side of Tohoku, Hokuriku, Gifu and Shiga prefectures; and 40 centimeters in Nagano Prefecture.

In the 24 hours through late Sunday afternoon, it could reach 70 to 100 centimeters in Niigata Prefecture; 60 to 80 centimeters in Hokuriku; 50 to 70 centimeters in Gifu and Shiga prefectures; and 40 to 60 centimeters in Nagano Prefecture.

Weather officials say snow may also accumulate in the flatlands in Tokai and elsewhere, as the cold air mass is also expected to flow over the Pacific Ocean.

Officials say transport services could be disrupted. They are also advising caution against avalanches and snow falling from rooftops, power lines and trees.